Feature Article of Thursday, 26 April 2012
Columnist: Owusu-Ansah, Kofi
Late last year a good friend of mine visited Ghana and it was the first time for well over 30 years and when he returned, I was too enthusiastic to welcome him back because, just like him, I also have been away for a while so I immediately engaged him in conversation to find out about the positive changes he saw and it was mind blowing. He was not the least impressed about almost everything and I would like to share briefly some of his thoughts.
He said, “I saw some beautiful buildings in Accra and Kumasi but moving away from Accra and going to my town in the Eastern Region, I cried” He said the journey from Accra to Kumaning took well over four hours, then I took a calculator because I knew when we were young that, Kade to Accra is 70miles which is 112kilometres and even travelling at 100km/hour, it will take one hour, twelve minutes here in Europe. I asked him, so how did the other passengers you were travelling with feel? He said: “You know what; very few of them had any complaints because most of them said the drivers were doing a good job plying those roads in Ghana. The worst part of the journey that put him off was the 7miles Kade-Okumaning road. He wonders why two big institutions like the Agricultural Research Station (University of Ghana) and Ghana Oil Palm Institution should be sited at this place yet do not have any good accessible roads.
I have been away too for some time so I asked him: What about the police? Is it the old game where drivers will stop and go and salute the “officer” and he said nothing has changed? I asked him how about the: schools, sanitation, public toilets, public transport, behaviour and attitudes, housing, water and electricity and my friend would not like to talk about them anymore because he thinks Ghana is blessed with highly educated men and women and wonders why they could all keep quiet and allow decay to become very fundamental in no mean a country but Ghana. He said he went to Accra and was walking in front of the Methodist Book Depot in city centre and Lo and behold a gentleman in the full glare of women and children began urinating unconcerned at all. At this point he was becoming very agitated as if I am the one who caused all the problems he was recounting to me so I decided to stop the inquisition.
He asked me, do you remember when we were in school and they were mining diamond at Akwatia? I said yes, I do remember those heavy vehicles spewing massive sand to be processed in the factories. He said just as they left potholes all over Akwatia so it is in all the regions of Ghana where there is a specific business activity. He said Ghana looks like not having any Environmental policies so people do what they like with the land and the resources. According to him, he cried when he saw river Densu near Nsawam. He said it is choked with all forms of waste, something that could not happen in Europe or any developed country.
He went to Obuasi, Kusi,and most of mining exploring areas and he came face to face with “galamsay” and the effect on major rivers and the danger they pose to so called labourers. We decided to stop any further discussion on his journey to Ghana because the more we talked, the more we realised that our leaders have let Ghana down big time.
I could not sleep the whole night so decided to do something about the situation. The part of the “Ghanaian” this friend consistently found very negative is the GHANAIAN ATTITUDE towards work. Our attitude towards public property; Our attitude towards each other, our attitude towards becoming rich at all cost without shedding a sweat, our attitude towards politicians, making them look like our “gods”. At a stage in a person development they take stock of where they are at a point in time; where they wish to get to and how they will get there but if you live in a nation where all the resources of the land is reserved for a mere 5% of the population who are the politicians, their friends and their families, cronies and foreigners, then you realise something is very wrong with the very existence of that country and society. Individually, some people left an indelible mark before they died and it up to us do something to effect a change in a horrible situation thus my desire to act. The tête-à-tête I had with my friend has opened my eyes to the new dynamics of life and I am fronting a new website where as Ghanaians we can engage in Discussing issues that will in the long run form part of any policy formulation in Ghana. I am lightening the fire into dry leaves and I expect that something will come out of it. Let us start engaging in Intelligent Discussion on www.ghanamindset now.